we conducted a short interview with one of our staff. Teamwork is of high importance in the project.
How many schools have you visited, Envina?
From June 2021 up to the end of November 2021 the ANOA team has visited 13 schools.
What was the biggest challenge and pleasure when organising the school visits?
The challenge was the coordination of the visits; once we went to a particular location we wanted to meet as many actors from a community as possible.
The pleasure was the readiness and enthusiasm of certain schools to collaborate with us, and the feeling of support they had when sharing their concerns.
During the visits what was the most important thing you learnt?
There are some important issues to address in this respect.
Pupils come from difficult backgrounds and they bring their hardships to school. Despite their life stories, they have little or no support from their families in addressing education matters.
Schools sometimes need to address these issues. Sometimes they have to negotiate with the families to avoid drop-outs. Sometimes they have to intervene in domestic violence issues and sometimes they need to address behavioral issues on their own since families do not see the need of support.
School staff are overworked, and seems they are left alone in a complicated situation, both from the head institutions and the community.
Pupils in these schools need more than education.
Communities at large do not see education as a tool to overcome their difficult situation.
If you could wave your magic wand and wish for anything, what would that be?
It is not a good idea to leave me a magical wand :). What I would do would probably look as positive discrimination towards our partner schools, and that would perpetuate the situation. If I had enough powers in my wand, that would involve change in many areas: starting from education governance, management and financing, raised awareness in communities, economic growth of communities and last but not least education relevance.
On a more serious note, what I would do is provide more funds to these schools, both dedicated to human resources, having more specialised people to address extra-curricular issues and altogether provide better salaries for the staff, invest in continuous training for the staff, alongside better infrastructure and diversified services for the pupils, like after school support, meals provision etc.